Two things stood out in the mind of Medical Lake head basketball coach Arnold Brown following his team’s 47-37 Northeast A League home court defeat to Chewelah last Tuesday.
Lack of shooting prowess on the part of his Cardinals and the experience the Cougars put on the court.
First the shooting. Medical Lake shot a dismal 6 of 28 from 3-point range for 21 percent, this after connecting on 45 percent in the previous five league games. This was part of the problem as Chewelah rallied from a 20-14 halftime deficit and broke a 29-all tie after three quarters. Chewelah won it with an 18-8 final quarter surge.
But the Cards hung in until the final minutes. “It was all even until the last four minutes of the game,” Brown said. “Then their experience took over.”
And as for the experience, Chewelah lists eight seniors and a junior on its roster while three freshman and a pair of sophomores on Medical Lake see playing time.
Chewelah stayed perfect at 6-0 (10-3 overall) in league play while Medical Lake fell for the first time this season in NEA play and is 5-1 and 8-5 overall.
Ben Johnstone’s 14 points and another 13 from Derek Smith did the most damage. Austin Garza and Adam Paulson each scored eight for the Cardinals.
Tuesday’s game was the lone outing for Medical Lake last week but the schedule pace gets brisk. The Chewelah showdown aptly concluded the first half of the NEA schedule for Medical Lake which hosted Riverside (2-4, 4-9) this past Tuesday and plays at home Friday, Jan. 18 against Kettle Falls (1-5, 6-7) and then on the road at Freeman (1-5, 1-12) Saturday.
“It’s kind of a big two weeks for us,” Brown said. And he’s hoping all parts of the team’s game finally get in synch. “We’re kind of hit and miss at times,” Brown said. “Our defense has been better, we just have to get our offense caught up a little bit.”
Brown singled out the effort of his younger players saying, “They’re getting better every day, that’s all we can ask.” Normally younger players get to learn on junior varsity Brown said, but not his crew. “We’re in the kitchen, we’re cooking,” he said.
“We’re getting closer, we’re getting closer,” he said.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.